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Easter treats – Can chocolate reduce the risk of a stroke?

Posted in: General Health 28 Mar, 2013

Over the years there have been many theories regarding the goodness and benefits associated with our favourite coco snack. Treats such as dark chocolate have known to be placed in this category; with past studies claiming that consuming this type of chocolate in moderation can be good for you and may have properties which can improve the health of your heart. So chocolate lovers will rejoice, as a new study lifts the sprits of chocoholics everywhere this Easter with fresh claims that eating just a single bar of milk chocolate can have an effect on the brain, potentially cutting your risk of a stroke.

The study

The study, which was conducted by researchers in Glasgow University, under took a number of tests, which looked at the effect of chocolate to the brain. It involved participants lying down eating chocolate while researchers measured the speed of blood flowing through the biggest artery found in their brain. Findings showed that chocolate had an effect on carbon dioxide levels, which affected blood vessels, developed blood flow and ultimately impacted on brain cells, therefore reducing the risk of a stroke.

Research found that the flavonoid in the chocolate were responsible for the study’s results. A previous study held in Sweden, which also looked at the effects of chocolate found that these flavonoids had antioxidant properties, and subsequently worked to protect against cardiovascular diseases.

Sweet treat

These results do not mean however, that you should go out and consume excessive amounts of chocolate Easter eggs during this biblical festive holiday. Normal milk chocolate is high in calories, and high in sugar. If you eat excessive amounts of chocolate your calorie intake will increase, which consequently will cause you to gain weight. Being over weight can cause you to develop a number of health conditions, which include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular disease

Furthermore, weight gain can potentially lead to obesity, and thus increase your chances of suffering from a stroke.

Easter cravings

With Easter just around the corner, the temptation to consume large amounts of chocolate will for many of us be hard to avoid. It is essential that such claims about the benefits gained from chocolate are what Tom Solomon, a Liverpool University professor argues are taken ‘into context’. Eating chocolate is not the problem. It is the amount that is eaten. Like everything else, when trying to maintain a healthy diet, moderation is key.

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